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What to Put in "Welcome to America Basket"

My brother has been dating a girl he met in Korea on and off for about 5 years...They started to get serious that last time he went to visit and now she is coming to visit the US for the first time tomorrow...I thought it would be nice to have a basket of goodies to welcome her when we pick her up at the airport. Any suggestions on what I should put in it?

I was thinking about baking some cookies or brownies, but am feeling a bit too exhausted to do that...


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  1. It's more traditional to give items that are traditional to the area, so you may want to come up with something that will give your brother's girlfriend a flavor for your region.

    1. Well, apple pie is the obvious answer, but perhaps consider Twinkies, Campbell's soup, Doritos, Coca-Cola, (I know, I'm naming a bunch of junk, but welcome to America), Hershey bars, Kellogs cereal, American cheese (heehee), Budweiser, Jack Daniel's or Jim Beam, McDonald's coupons, Wonder bread, Skippy peanut butter, Welch's jelly.........

      1. Rice Krispie treats! There is something all american about them....lol

        1. 1) Go to Pike's Place Market
          2) Buy some regional food that you and your family enjoy
          3) Hopefully some of it will appeal to the korean palate.

            1. This is a great question for Miss Needle on the east coast.

              Many visitors often comment on how good peanut butter is here in the states, and get this, they love McDonald's pancakes too. I'm not sure if that's all that Americana, but it's a start. Oh yeah, you should probably throw a can of Bud in there somewhere too.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Cheese Boy

                Thanks for the mention, Cheese Boy. But I'm afraid I'm probably not the best person to answer this as I haven't been to Korea in quite some time and don't quite get the culture. I was laughing hysterically when I saw my cousin's wedding video where he had fake smoke and three tenors singing "Here Comes the Bride." The wedding cake also had smoke coming out of it and was on fire as well. But everybody at the wedding took it quite seriously! But what I've noticed about Koreans from my relatives is that they have an affinity for See's chocolates. And perhaps a jar of "good" spaghetti sauce like Rao's.

                Non-food related, I've noticed that Korean couples like to wear matching outfits (which I find bizarre). So maybe some matching T-shirts that say Seattle or Pike Place Market or something like that may work. I've found that a lot of Koreans like tourist landmarks such as Statue of Liberty, Pike Place Market, Mt Rushmore, Niagara Falls, etc. Your brother, of course, may feel silly walking around like town with it though (and I wouldn't blame him). And this is probably more true for an older Korean woman, but they sure like their visors.

              2. i'd probably put in a selection of cool baked goods. like muffins made with american ingredients, banana/zucchini bread, etc, jam, jelly, PB, maple syrup, local fresh fruits (apples, peaches, berries) etc. the homebaked cookies idea is great-- if you don't have the energy, get some good ones from a local bakery-- maybe some mexican pastries! some non-perishable food products local to your area. . . and if she is staying for any length of time, a gift cert to your local korean market-- i bet money she'll turn right around and make your family a homestyle korean meal, so everybody wins.

                1. A lot of the bigger American brand names are available in Korea, so I will also agree with going local or homemade. I think apple pie is a great idea as well, or perhaps some of the candied apples. May be some good gourmet coffee (no Starbucks please as there are enough of them in Korea). May be some hot sauce from the state since Korean love spicy and kimchi and they may like it?

                  Also, some gourmet snacks that you can only get in the State, like gourmet potato chips (no lays), or chocolate (not godiva..)

                  1. FYI, keep in mind the TSA restrictions on liquids, gels, creams. I'd steer clear of them unless you expect they will consume them before she heads out.

                    I'm not sure why, but those assorted jelly beans came to mind. Jelly Belly jelly beans. It's sort of fun to taste them and guess what the flavor is or use the little recipe book to create new flavors. M&M's are a classic too.

                    1. Maybe some really good American style pickles (green beans, okra, bread and butter,etc).

                      1. Oregon pinot noir (hey, it's right next door)
                        Pacific northwest smoked salmon
                        Washington state apples (if not too early)
                        Vermont / Wisconsin smoked cheddar

                        1. Fresh Fruits - Bananas, Tangerines, Honeydew Melon, Watermelon, Peaches, Nectarines, Cantaloupe, Grapes, etc.
                          I would go easy on sweets as most American sweets are too sugary for most Korean born Koreans.

                          Edit: Koreans like to give each other those huge purple grapes (Peone?) and the individually foam mesh wrapped Korean or Nashi pears.

                          Edit Again: If there are any Ranier Cherries still available, they would be a great addition.

                          1. My daughter-in -law arrived from Korea to the US for the first time on 7/20 and is o.d.ing on 'Merican food. Two suggestions. Have on hand some spicy ramen noodles for breakfast and despite her protests that she couldn't American kim chi, I went to the local helath food store, got a jar and watched it evaporate!

                            1. peanut butter m&ms. or peanut m&ms.

                              1. I would do it in a red white & blue theme completely. Red cherries or apples, M&Ms in red, white, and blue, jelly bellys in red, white and blue. White cheese. Fresh blueberris or blueberry muffins. Get some extraordinary bread. Then put in something that is your favorite from your area.

                                My very first thought was apple pie. I'd put one in.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: laliz

                                  Ditto on the apple pie. And a picture of a Chevy and Mom.

                                2. Fudge is an American invention, and a delicious one. I'd definitely include some good fudge!

                                    1. As a Brit here in America I see these foods as American

                                      Oreos Cookies
                                      Cracker Barrel Cheese
                                      Cap'n Crunch/Cheerios/Apple Jacks
                                      Graham Crackers
                                      Apple Pie
                                      Pastrami Sandwich or Corned Beef
                                      Potato Pancakes with Apple sauce and sour cream
                                      Uncle Ben's Rice
                                      Kraft Cheese Slices
                                      Doritos and Dip
                                      Velveeta Cheese
                                      Jelly Beans
                                      Hot Sauce - Louisiana or Tabasco

                                      that kind of stuff

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: smartie

                                        I thought potato pancakes were Polish?

                                        1. re: smartie

                                          I think the point is whether they're readily available in Korea. I know when I lived in Japan, a lot of those foods were fairly easy to get- oreos, pastrami, Kraft, and probably Dorotis along with some others were available in my small grocery store as were varieties of chocolate chip cookies, muffins, and other bakery items. That's why regionally specific items tend to be a better choice. You're less likely to be exposed to them abroad.

                                        2. To gift to her on her visit here? Or on her way back to Korea? If it's for the visit where will she be staying, in a hotel?

                                          If so a welcome basket of fruits, flowers, mineral water, cookies, chocolate would be great.

                                          Then when she leaves some other stuff to take back with her, such as home baked cookies.